Post List

  • August 13, 2009
  • 09:30 PM

Cyclization Reactions and Angelmarin Synthesis

by Steve W in Bridgehead Carbons

The first total synthesis of (+)-Angelmarin includes some neat cyclization reactions. They started with Umbelliferone which you can buy, and synthesized angelmarin by way of columbianetin.I'm always curious about where the names of these compounds come from. The systematic names are probably rather cumbersome, so these common names are useful. Umbelliferone is found in plants of the Umbelliferae family - which includes carrots. Also named for plant species, angelmarin was isolated from Angeli........ Read more »

Magolan, J., & Coster, M. (2009) Total Synthesis of ( )-Angelmarin. The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 74(14), 5083-5086. DOI: 10.1021/jo900613u  

  • August 13, 2009
  • 07:00 PM

Climate Change and Climate Change Refugees, Part I

by Elements Team in Elements

By: Rosemary Stephen, Elements: Environmental Health Intelligence

Part I:
The Current State
Climate change is a serious global problem resulting in disrupted weather patterns, violent storms, rising global temperatures and rising ocean levels. Climate change is also displacing people; small family groups to whole populations are being forced to leave their homelands due to environmental changes that [...]... Read more »

Rosemary Stephen. (2009) Climate Change and Climate Change Refugees, Part I. Elements: Environmental Health Intelligence. info:/

  • August 13, 2009
  • 05:36 PM

Sex and face recognition: Are male and female faces processed completely separately?

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Take a look at these photos of Jim and Nora:

They've clearly been distorted (using the "spherize" filter in Photoshop), but in opposite directions. Jim's been "expanded" to make more spherical, while Nora has been "contracted" to look more concave. If you look at these photos for a while, you might have difficulty recognizing how Jim and Nora look normally.

This is an aftereffect. Aftereffects can be experienced in a number of ways, with dizziness being perhaps the most frequently observed........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2009
  • 05:18 PM


by TomJoe in (It's a ...) Micro World (... after all)

Came across this article in the New Scientist. It's a lovely piece of modern day molecular biology doing some forensic work to rediscover a species that was thought to have died out a couple of hundred years ago. The bird in question is the Tasman Booby (Sula tasmani).It has been speculated that this bird has been extinct since around 1790, though evidence has suggested that these birds might still be around. From my reading of the papers, it appears that the call for extinction of the Tasman Bo........ Read more »

Steeves, T., Holdaway, R., Hale, M., McLay, E., McAllan, I., Christian, M., Hauber, M., & Bunce, M. (2009) Merging ancient and modern DNA: extinct seabird taxon rediscovered in the North Tasman Sea. Biology Letters. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0478  

  • August 13, 2009
  • 05:18 PM

A Big Boost for a Revolutionary Theory

by AK in AK's Rambling Thoughts

One of my more favorite reads was Aaron Filler's Upright Ape:  A New Origin of the Species[3], shortly after it was published.  The suggestion(s) regarding human evolution were attractive and revolutionary, while the discussions of homeotic mutations and their mechanisms (based upon peer-reviewed work[4]) were enlightening and form part of the foundation of my own approach to understanding how mutation, development, and Darwinian selection work together (a subject I haven't blogged mu........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2009
  • 04:51 PM

A new study claims to have identified mirror neurons in the human brain

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

In case you haven't seen it yet, there is a new paper in J. Neuroscience that reports the existence of mirror neurons in human inferior frontal gyrus (~Broca's area). It used a repetition suppression fMRI paradigm and found a suppression effect (different same) both when subjects executed and then observed the same action and when subjects observed and then executed the same action. This appears to be the best evidence yet for the existence of mirror neurons in humans: an effect was found in b........ Read more »

Kilner, J., Neal, A., Weiskopf, N., Friston, K., & Frith, C. (2009) Evidence of Mirror Neurons in Human Inferior Frontal Gyrus. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(32), 10153-10159. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2668-09.2009  

  • August 13, 2009
  • 04:07 PM

Early-exposure to a high fat diet shapes future preference

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

It goes without saying that the US is currently experiencing a rapidly growing obesity epidemic. Researchers from various fields continue to look for possible causes and solutions to such a deleterious medical condition. A recent study conducted by Teegarden, Scott, and Bale seem to have advanced our understanding of obesity just a bit further. In a 10 day macronutrient choice preference test they found that high fat diet early-exposed mice exhibited a significantly greater preference for a high........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2009
  • 02:53 PM

Climate change and coffee pests

by Julie Craves in Coffee & Conservation

A paper just published in the journal PLoS ONE explores the impact of climate change on the life history and distribution of the world's worst coffee pest, a minute beetle called the coffee berry borer (CBB), Hypothenemus hampei.

... Read more »

  • August 13, 2009
  • 12:35 PM

Aspirin in colorectal cancer – a new trick for an old dog

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

A new study published in JAMA this week has shown that in patients with colorectal cancer, taking an aspirin a day after diagnosis reduces the risk dying from the cancer or from any cause by at least 20%.  Taking aspirin before diagnosis, however, did not have any effect of prognosis.
It has been known for a [...]... Read more »

Chan AT, Ogino, MD S, Fuchs CS. (2009) Aspirin Use and Survival After Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer. JAMA, 302(6), 649-658. info:other/Aspirin Use and Survival After Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer

  • August 13, 2009
  • 12:35 PM

The Versatile GABAa Chloride Channel Receptor Complex

by Amiya in Physiology physics woven fine

In today’s industrialized society we are constantly exposed to work related stresses. Consequently, anxiety and insomnia (sleeplessness) have become quite common. No wonder, we are using anxiolytics and sedatives more often; to get relief from the anxiety and insomnia respectively.Benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide (Librium) can effectively treat anxiety and insomnia. They do so by binding with a receptor (called Benzodiazepine-GABAa-chloride ion channel complex [hence........ Read more »

Wisden, W., & Stephens, D. (1999) Pharmacology: Towards better benzodiazepines. Nature, 401(6755), 751-752. DOI: 10.1038/44482  

  • August 13, 2009
  • 12:32 PM

Size UK

by Wayne Hooke in The Psychology of Beauty

Wells, et. al. (2007), have published data from 3D body scans taken from a 9617 member, cross-sectional sample of UK adults (stratified by age and SES). The study seems intended to gather commercial (garment sizing information) and health related information, but does have some implications for beauty research.

Body shape correlates with age in females more [...]... Read more »

Wells JC, Treleaven P, & Cole TJ. (2007) BMI compared with 3-dimensional body shape: the UK National Sizing Survey. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 85(2), 419-25. PMID: 17284738  

  • August 13, 2009
  • 12:10 PM

A helpful invasive species?

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Introduced species can wreak havoc on the ecosystems they invade. But what happens after they've been established for centuries? A new study in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society suggests that, in one case, an introduced species has actually become an important part of the native ecosystem -- and helps protect native species from another invader [$-a].

.flickr-photo { }.flickr-frameright { float: right; text-align: left; margin-left: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; }.flickr-caption { font-s........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2009
  • 11:10 AM

Personal protective equipment and influenza

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

We’ve had several discussions on the value of personal protective equipment (PPE) in preventing influenza infection. CIDRAP has an excellent summary of an Institute of Medicine meeting on this subject. The IOM has been asked to make recommendations about how to protect healthcare workers against swine-origin H1N1 influenza.
An unpublished study of respiratory protection in hospital [...]... Read more »

  • August 13, 2009
  • 11:00 AM

Science News: Week of August 9, 2009

by Susan Steinhardt in BioData Blogs

Our weekly compilation of science news for the week of August 9, 2009.... Read more »

Smith, M., Egerdie, B., Toriz, N., Feldman, R., Tammela, T., Saad, F., Heracek, J., Szwedowski, M., Ke, C., Kupic, A.... (2009) Denosumab in Men Receiving Androgen-Deprivation Therapy for Prostate Cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0809003  

Cummings, S., Martin, J., McClung, M., Siris, E., Eastell, R., Reid, I., Delmas, P., Zoog, H., Austin, M., Wang, A.... (2009) Denosumab for Prevention of Fractures in Postmenopausal Women with Osteoporosis. New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0809493  

  • August 13, 2009
  • 06:48 AM

Scaredy Cat? Blame it on your genes (Again!!)

by Varun in Wissenschaft

Serotonin (5-Hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT), as some of us may know, is a neurotransmitter that is involved in modulation of moods such as anger. The level of re-uptake of serotonin by the presynaptic neuron is crucial and abnormal functioning of the serotonin transporter has been implicated in different neurological diseases. The human 5-HT transporter (5-HTT) gene transcription is modulated by a common polymorphism in the upstream regulatory region and the short variant of the polymorphism reduces........ Read more »

Lesch, K., Bengel, D., Heils, A., Sabol, S., Greenberg, B., Petri, S., Benjamin, J., Muller, C., Hamer, D., & Murphy, D. (1996) Association of Anxiety-Related Traits with a Polymorphism in the Serotonin Transporter Gene Regulatory Region. Science, 274(5292), 1527-1531. DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5292.1527  

  • August 13, 2009
  • 03:51 AM

Are you spiritual?

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Most people have got a reasonable idea of what's meant by the word 'religion', even if it's hard to tie down precisely. But what about 'spirituality'? It's an important question because there's an increasing body of research into spirituality, rather than religion.

The concept of 'spirituality' is used in these studies specifically to get away from the idea that religion is the be-all and end-all in terms of personal fulfilment, happiness, and........ Read more »

Conner, B., Anglin, M., Annon, J., & Longshore, D. (2008) Effect of Religiosity and Spirituality on Drug Treatment Outcomes. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services , 36(2), 189-198. DOI: 10.1007/s11414-008-9145-z  

Longshore, D., Anglin, M., & Conner, B. (2008) Are Religiosity and Spirituality Useful Constructs in Drug Treatment Research?. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services , 36(2), 177-188. DOI: 10.1007/s11414-008-9152-0  

  • August 13, 2009
  • 03:14 AM

Logic and language are not the same thing

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

It's difficult for us to imagine what our mental lives would be like without language. Some theorists have even gone so far as to argue that language and logical thought are one and the same thing. A new brain imaging study challenges this notion by showing that logical inferences based on simple "not", "or", "if", "then" terms activate a separate, though overlapping, network of brain regions compared with logical inferences based on grammatical judgements.Martin Monti and colleagues scanned the........ Read more »

Monti MM, Parsons LM, & Osherson DN. (2009) The boundaries of language and thought in deductive inference. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 19617569  

  • August 13, 2009
  • 02:52 AM

Motives For Online Gaming

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Why do young adults play online games such as First Person Shooters? What are their motives?

Communication before, during, and after online gaming is of the utmost importance for these gamers. They like the “togetherness” in these centers. Paying for going to an online game center was far better than the solitude of gaming from their [...]... Read more »

  • August 12, 2009
  • 04:53 PM

The relationship between a leftward bias and negative emotional recognition

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

There appears to be a growing body of evidence supporting the relationship between space and emotion. A fascinating study by Tamagni, Mantei, and Brugger found that healthy right handed subjects who exhibited a leftward line bisection bias on a lateralized lexical decision task had a recognition advantage for negative over positive emotional words. They suggest that functional hemispheric differences state variables may be less decisive than the trait variable of lateral hemispatial attention an........ Read more »

  • August 12, 2009
  • 02:37 PM

Some Thoughts on P-Zombies and the Gap Explanatory Argument

by Varun in Wissenschaft

Dedicated to Anna Traußnig...for the several hours of intellectual orgasms, as she likes to call itParts of this article have been inspired by the writings of Robert Kirk, William Seager and Daniel DennettA philosophical zombie (or p-zombie as it is often called), is a curious creature that is central to the basic idea of the explanatory gap. It is a hypothetical being that is indistinguishable from you and I, or any normal human being for that matter, except for one fundamental detail. Such a ........ Read more »

Kirk, R. (1999) The Inaugural Address: Why There Couldn't Be Zombies. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 73(1), 1-16. DOI: 10.1111/1467-8349.00046  

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